Ogun Suspends Plans For 2020 African Drum Festival Over COVID - 19 - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ogun Suspends Plans For 2020 African Drum Festival Over COVID - 19

  Drummers at the 2019 edition of the festival


From Babalola Gafar, Abeokuta

Ogun State Government on Wednesday said it has put on hold its plans for the 2020 edition of the African Drum Festival in Abeokuta, the State capital, to avoid exposing guests - local and foreign, to grave health risk following the confirmed index case of an Italian Coronavirus Patient in Nigeria.

The Festival, first of its kind, was initiated by the then administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun and since the launch of its maiden edition in 2016, over a dozen African countries and 28 States of the Nigerian federation, have participated colourfully in it every April with prominent traditional rulers like the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle and representatives of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, in attendance.

The media were to be addressed by the State Government to announce the planned celebration of the Festival this year but the  press briefing was hurriedly postponed indefinitely following a wild protest that erupted in Sagamu area of the state on February 24 over the alleged killing of Remo Star Football Club Defender, Kazeem Tiamiyu, popularly called Kaka by an Operative of the Special Anti - Robbery Squad(SARS) attached to the satellite Zonal Investigation Squad, Ogun State.

And barely a week after the furore over Kaka's killing had subsided, nothing is being said about the African Drum Festival again, forcing some culture enthusiasts and lovers all over the world to wonder whether this year edition of the Festival would ever take place.

But speaking with The Daily Crucible Reporter exclusively, the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Public Communication, Hon. Remmy Hazzan, said the government had elected not to talk about it now because of the Coronavirus issue.
 
Hazzan who was a former Deputy Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, said the initial planned date (undisclosed) for the festival was no longer "sacrosanct," stressing that there was also no need to talk about a new date since the Coronavirus issue still persists in Nigeria and other countries of the world.

Hazzan said: "The Press has not been addressed on the the drum festival. We should have addressed the press since last week but (couldn't because of) the outbreak of corona virus.

"Since it's going to be an international festival,
 we are being pragmatic and we are being careful so that we won't gather people an expose them to any kind of infection. 

"We have a date now and it is fixed,  we don't want to unnecessarily just raised the expectations of people. 

"We have not addressed the press, we are just trying to be proactive, we don't in the name of being carried away with the celebration since foreigners will also attend this program. 

"There is no need of telling you date now because that date is no longer sacrosanct, if the corona virus issues clear then the date will be made known."




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